A good bass amp is big, weighs a ton, and usually costs a fortune.
Given that most people can’t afford hauling a 100-pound metal-plated chunk of wood from their rehearsal space every time a gig is on the horizon, finding a good bass amp simulator might save you a bit of troubles.
However, there are numerous plugins and programs on the market, so finding the adequate simulator isn’t exactly a walk in the park.
Amplitube is incredible software that offers much in terms of convenience while boasting remarkable versatility and beginner-friendliness.
It’s pricey, but it’s not overly expensive, and the fact that it’s available in various formats justifies the price tag.
The Amplitube rocks a wide selection of premium-quality modelled amplifiers for both guitars & basses, and it also sports numerous stompboxes, reverbs, modulators, fuzzes, distortions, delays, and a myriad of similar effects.
While its rack effect selection is pretty modest to say the least, Amplitube 4 sports excellent visuals, a highly intuitive interface, a built-in tuner, as well as a comprehensive recording suite.
There are a couple of drawbacks to this bass simulator, though. Aside from the fact that it’s pretty expensive, it does not support 32-bit systems, which is quite a downfall for people who have older (but functional) setups.
Amplitube offers a couple of pricing options, with the most affordable one (base version) still being more than versatile enough to cater to your performing, playing, practicing, and recording needs.
Now, most people would rather buy a boutique bass amp than invest in a boutique bass amp simulator; Line 6’s Helix Native begs to differ.
The Helix Native is a beautifully designed bass amp sim that packs 60 amps in total, 13 of which are dedicated bass simulators, 30 cabinets, and more than 100 effects that you can utilize in your rig.
It also sports a variety of distortions, equalizers, modulators, pitch shifters, synths, and numerous other goodies along the same lines.
Obviously, the biggest disadvantage of Helix Native is its price tag, but that’s not what dissuades most people from trying it out. Namely, the vast majority of amp sims in this software are guitar simulators.
Even though there are substantially simpler and more cost-effective alternatives, Helix Native remains one of the most exquisite, most powerful and versatile bass amp simulators available on the market.
The Amp Room takes ‘quality over quantity’ to another level, compromising for the modest selection of bass amps and bass effects with a sheer, raw quality and function.
Its simplicity is its forte – the Amp Room features a single bass amp simulator and three bass cabinets only, all of which were recorded in real-time with authentic microphones by professional players.
As far as tone-shaping capabilities are of concern, this bass amp sim features a dedicated head equalizer, click & drag method of microphone placement, DI equalizer controls, and a variety of tone-blending features.
It is, sadly, not available in a standalone format, and its eclecticism is obviously not something to boast about.
However, it’s decently affordable and a no-brainer pick for serious bass players who want to get the most out of their bass in an analog yet digital way.
Cheap and authentic would be the words that best describe Wave’s GTR 3 amp simulator.
This is one of the cheapest multi-bass sims that is available in both standalone and plug-in format, but just like some of our previous picks it only supports 64-bit operating systems.
It packs seven dedicated bass amps, 26 effects, and a digital pedalboard that can ‘fit’ six stompboxes simultaneously.
Obviously, this is not necessarily the most versatile bass amp simulator on the market, but it is among those that are the easiest to use. Its beginner-friendliness is a huge bonus considering that it’s also remarkably cheap, but that’s about everything this simulator has to provide.
Here’s yet another cheap bass amp simulator that offers authentic bass tones, effects and timbres alongside a variety of unique bass amps. In terms of convenience, the GK-Amplification 2 Pro is available in both standalone and plug-in format.
This bass amp simulator features three Gaillain & Kruker amps, three bass heads (MB150, 800RB and 2001RB), and two speaker cabinets.
Even though this doesn’t really reflect the versatility of GK-Amplification 2 Pro, the fact that all of these analog components are manufactured by the same brand and put into a digital format speaks volumes about their quality.
Furthermore, you’ll be able to tweak and adjust a number of tonal parameters, such as bass head equalizers, boosts, voicing filters, types, angles and positions of microphones, and blending of the cabinets.
The brand also provides the opportunity to download a free demo so you can get acquainted with its features before deciding whether you want to buy it or not.
There are no stompboxes onboard, and there are only three amps for you to choose from, but considering that this is a fairly inexpensive bass amp simulator, it’s quite obvious that it’s well worth the buck.
Let’s wrap things up with SHB-1, which is a free bass amp for Windows and Mac. It does have a single amp preset, but it’s built after real, authentic amp components and features an exact replica of the original SHB 1 bass head.
The SHB-1 offers a simple, straightforward interface, an exceptionally great sound, and it supports both 32 and 64-bit operating systems.
It’s idiosyncratic in a lot of ways, and you’ll need your own cabinet plugin in order to actually utilize it, but it’s easily one of the finest bass amp simulators for hard rock and metal music out there.